Friday, August 3, 2012

Miss Me When I'm Gone

Miss Me When I'm Gone by Emily Arsenault
review copy provided by William Morrow/Harper Collins
Description from Goodreads:
MISS ME WHEN I'M GONE is the story of the sudden death of Eliza, the author of Tammyland, a "honky-tonk" Eat, Pray, Love, and Jamie, the friend who finds in Eliza's next, unpublished manuscript a mystery that could lead to a killer.

A William Morrow Paperback Original
A brand new mystery from the author of the critically acclaimed Broken Teaglass and In Search of the Rose Notes

Gretchen Waters is most famous for her book Tammyland-a "honky-tonk Eat, Pray, Love," a memoir about her divorce and her admiration for Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Parton. When Gretchen dies falling on a set of stone steps outside of a library, everyone thinks it was an accident or a botched mugging. Jamie, Gretchen's best friend from college, certainly has no reason to suspect foul play. That is, until she becomes Gretchen's literary executor. Gretchen's latest manuscript is much darker than Tammyland-ostensibly about her favorite classic male country singers, it's really about a murder in her family that haunted her childhood. From beyond the grave, Gretchen's writing opens up a sinister new world, and suddenly, Gretchen's death seems suspicious-and then Jamie finds herself in danger as well..

My take:
I like a good mystery, and the premise of Miss Me When I'm Gone sounded really interesting.  But since I'm not really a fan of country music, I wasn't sure if I'd really like the book. While I'm not a fan of country music, I am very familiar with it - I did grow up in Oklahoma after all; so, I did know all the singers and the songs referenced and I had even seen many, if not all, of the specific performances discussed in the book. But, honestly, the country music subject didn't bother me -- it was really kind of fun and worked really well in this story.

I brought the book with me to the gym thinking I'd start it and if it didn't capture my interest, that was okay since I still got my workout. Well, the hour on the treadmill actually sped by and I just kept reading after I got home.  I was really caught up in the mystery - or mysteries. There are excerpts throughout the novel that are from the novel that Gretchen wrote as well as her research notes for her second novel that she didn't get to complete before she was killed. I found myself much more interested in the excerpts that were supposed to be from Tammyland, Gretchen's country-singer inspired book, than I thought I would be. The way author Emily Arsenault uses the Gretchen book and notes to help further her story was very well done and made the reading go quickly and I had fun gathering my own clues as I read the research notes and interviews. 

This is a mystery, obviously, but it is also a book about friendship, growing up, impending motherhood and a glimpse at how people and life can be so much more complicated that we might think. It is a very fast read and not too heavy. I read it in less than 24 hours because I just couldn't put it down. I would highly recommend this book.



  1. Sounds like a mystery I'd enjoy. I liked your clear summary of the book and your thoughts.

  2. I really liked this one too, but as a fan of country music, it was refreshing to see that that part of the story was still enjoyable to someone who isn't! I'm eager to read Arsenault's two prior novels now too.


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